Tamales do take time, but they're so worth the effort! Grab a fellow home cook and a drink, and you've got good times in the kitchen, with a Mexican twist. Or even throw a simple tamale party! Just use our super detailed cooking instructions and video below (or email us for a PDF format).
Global Grub's DIY Tamale Kit Cooking Instructions
Congrats! You're are about to become a tamalera, aka tamale-maker!
THE PREP Tip: Do this part ahead of time (such as the day before)
Meat For rotisserie shortcut, skip to Sauce. Or check out other filling ideas here.
Fill a large saucepan with water and turn heat to high.
While water is heating, add meat, 1/2 lightly chopped onion, 3 peeled garlic cloves (reserve remaining onion and garlic for sauce). Add water as needed to fully submerge meat.
When water boils, cover and simmer on low until meat is tender and comes apart easily (about 2 hrs for pork or 1 hr for chicken). Make sauce while simmering.
When meat is done cooking, save 3 cups meat broth for masa.
Remove dried chili tops and seeds.
In a large stockpot, add chilies, 1/2 lightly chopped onion, 3 peeled garlic cloves and enough water to submerge all ingredients when pushed down with a spoon. Boil on medium-high heat until soft (about 20 min).
Transfer cooked chilies, onion, garlic and 1 cup chili broth to blender or food processor. Add spice packet, 1 tsp salt and puree until smooth.
Save 1 cup sauce to use as topping.
Meat and Sauce
Shred cooked meat with forks, removing fat.
Mix meat and remaining chili sauce.
Add salt to taste and refrigerate until ready to use.
THE EATING DAY
Masa and Corn Husks
Soak corn husks in a bowl of hot water until pliable (about 30 min). Weigh husks down with a plate to keep submerged. While soaking…
In a large bowl, combine masa, 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt, and gradually stir in 3 cups reserved broth. Mix well.
In a small bowl, use fork to beat 1/2 cup shortening until fluffy.
Add shortening to masa mixture and beat dough with fork until spongy.
Create a workstation with masa, meat/sauce, husks and optional olives.
Fill stockpot (8+ quarts) with water up to bottom of steamer.
Remove several husks from water, rinse and pat dry.
Lay a husk on a flat surface with the smooth side up:
Spread a 1/4-inch thick layer of masa across the wider side, creating a rectangle about 4-inch high by 5-inch wide. Leave a gap on one side of the husk with no masa.
Place about 2 tbsp of meat/sauce in center of masa and any other optional ingredients, like olives.
Fold one husk side in, then overlap the other side on top.
Fold tapered end towards open/wide end to seal tamale.
Repeat until all tamales are assembled.
Arrange tamales vertically in steamer, with open ends up.
Bring pot of water to a boil, then lower heat to maintain a low boil. Steam until masa comes away easily from husk (about 1-1/2 to 2 hrs). Carefully check and maintain water level frequently.
Let cool for a few minutes and serve with reserved chili sauce and optional garnishes, like sour cream.
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